Not A Danger, Merely A Warning
Prague is so wonderfully photogenic that you'll just want to snap away, constantly. Everything catches your eye: the street life, the views, the architecture...yep you won't be camera-shy here.
But if you want that particular shot, it takes a bit of patience.
Just when you think you've got the whole of that band on Charles Bridge in focus and you've pressed the button you might find that someone has just walked straight across your field of view.
So, always check your camera review just in case and if necessary retake the shot.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Beer Tasting
Public transport ticket inspection
On both of my trips to Prague in 2003 and 2014 I encountered quite a few ticket inspections. Although I was never really involved I saw many tourists not having a validated ticket.
In 2003 the penatly fare was 400 CZK, whereas the cheapest single ticket cost only 12 CZK. In 2014 these prices were already doubled.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Driving in City Center in Old Town Prague
There are roads you are not permitted to drive on. Only residents can drive down these roads. So, we drove to our hotel, could not find parking in front and turned right onto the adjacent road and parked for a moment. My boyfriend did not leave the car. I went to the hotel to ask where we could park and unload our luggage. There was a loading zone in front. So, my boyfriend started to drive around the block to park in front of the hotel. The police stopped him and said it was a 2000Kè for driving onto this road. We had just arrived in town and had no Czech currency on us. The police officer pointed to an ATM and told my boyfriend he can get cash from there. Since, he was getting the cash, the police officer told him all he needed to pay was 500Kè. He asked if my boyfriend needed a receipt (he should have said yes) but said no. The officer still handed him a piece of paper which was really nothing - a notepad with some words with blanks.
The police station was only a half block away from our hotel. We went there to confirm this was a valid fine. Turns out it was but they were not happy that this occurred. We waited for what seemed like 15 minutes for the police chief. And, another officer translated to him what occurred. The police have the discretion to charge the fine. I think since we were from out of town, this would normally be waived and a warning would have been enough. They did not like that we did not receive an official ticket which they showed us what it would look like. They asked if we had the police officer's badge number. But, we did not. One by one, each police officer from this particular precinct came in and we were to identify which officer it was. Turns out it was none of them. They explained that it may have been an officer from another precinct. They took the report and we were surprised the amount of attention they gave to our situation. It was comforting to know they didn't waive this off as a usual taking advantage of tourists coming to the city.
How safe the city of Prague really is
When we arrive in a country that has its own currency, our first thought is to change the money. At the train station in Prague is the exchange that one just cannot miss. Warning is not to change too much of money there but only as much as you need to pay for a taxi to the hotel, because the exchange rate is unfavorable. There are a number of exchange offices in the city which will offer much more acceptable exchange rate.
Is Prague safe, during both day and night? There is no 100% safe place but yet, the city of Prague gives impression of an very safe place. Of course, always can happen some unexpected inconvenience, but it is unlikely unless one challenge the devil. One who at night is wandering around parts of the city that have a certain negative reputation, makes it at own risk....
WALKING DOWN-HILL FROM PRAGUE CASTLE
As you know, Prague Castle is on top of a hill. We took a funicular to Petrin hill, then walked to Prague Castle. From here, we decided to walk back to the city centre. The steep part of the hill has steps, though not continuous, there is a flat area inbetween. My husband has problems with steps, but could manage these ok. Quite a bit of the walk is on a footpath down the hill - no steps here.
If you think this is too much, then you can catch Tram 22 or 23 that will take you down to the city centre.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Castles and Palaces
Are they for real? I am not so sure!
While we were having our coffee next to the St. Nicholas Church, we were watching a beggar bent over, his nose nearly touching the ground. Ouch! That would be no good for us if we were a beggar, our back would be killing us! People galore walked past, nobody gave any money.
Along came a man and tapped the begger on the back. The beggar looked up, saw who it was, they exchanged some words and off went the original beggar and the new one took his place!
We saw plenty of beggars through-out Prague, quite a few had their dogs with them, some were even enjoying a cup of coffee, so I guess some people do give money to them.
At least here, I found I wasn't hassled by them!
CROSSING THE ROAD!
Prague is a very busy city, all day long!
I looked at the four lane road, that is 4 lanes one way and 4 lanes the other way and wondered how on earth I was ever going to cross it!
This was Legerova street and I wanted to reach the State Opera House.
Luckily, I happened to see a person alight from an underpass and went to investigate. It was pretty dark and gloomy, I didn't like the look of it at all, just hoped there wasn't anybody waiting to mug me! Quickly I went down the steps and hurried through the tunnel and came out the other end in one piece!
Later on, I found more underpasses under different busy roads around Prague, so remember to look for them rather than taking a chance trying to cross the road.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
After living in Prague for over a year, I can say the only real "danger" is getting a big fat ticket from the metro police. Its easy to not purchase a metro ticket for $2 and ride it free of charge but you will eventually get caught and when you do its not cheap. Often times they have the "police" waiting 3-5 at a time at the exit and entry points and stop anyone who does not look "czech" in other words those who have darker skin, suitcases, speak in a foreign language or are acting happy, as most Czechs are very serious and never smile. If you can pull off an angry grin and do not make eye contact, chances are they wont even stop you. However if you are a tourist its worth paying the metro fee or you will be out 50 bucks and if you cant pay up front..expect to get involved with the REAL police and then the fee will go up from there!Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Work Abroad
W A R N I N G
Don't use BRAVOFLY to by flights.
It's impossible to cancel tickets online.
To make a cancelation you need call them many times by phone. The operator only gets your request and transfer it to customer service. The customer service is unreacheble by e-mail and also by phone.
Since middle of March 2012 I try to cancel my flight to Prague without any success to get my money back. Each time I call them I receive standart repeat: "Your reguest is processed - be patient".
So, DONT USE BRAVOFLY.
- Business Travel
- Road Trip
Transportation - Warning #2
If you are 70+ and not CR citizen you still have to pay for the public transport in Prague.
Only locals over 70 travel for free.
All important information regarding the operation of public transport, routes, timetables and fares is available to passengers at tour Info centres. Info centre staff provide information in Czech, English, German and Russian, including via telephone:
296 19 18 17
Operating hours: daily from 7.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Transportation - Warning #1
Tourists usually don’t bear in mind that it is necessary to validate the tickets at the validating machines before entering the metro, or when getting in trams or buses.
In the case you have the ticket, but it has not been validated, you can get a fine of up to 900 CZK.
The driver does not validate your ticket, you need to put it into a validating machine which prints time on the ticket, for the case a controller comes in.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
Lighting up without a guilty conscience
Smoking laws have changed considerably in Prague since my prior visits. It is now up to owners to decide if they are all smoking or, more commonly, that they provide a non-smoking area. You can always look for the appropriate signage or just ask.Related to:
- Road Trip
I knew that there was a Museum in Prague named after its favourite son, Bedřich Smetana who is widely regarded as the father of Czech Music. When I saw from a distance an impressive red sign with "S" "Museum" on it, I dragged my good lady down the street to Melantrichova 18 with a promise of an exhibit dedicated to the life and works of Bedřich Smetana. We had seen at least one of his operas back in Australia.
My big mistake was not doing some homework first. I would have realized the Address was not Novotného lávka 201, the old city water works located on a point jutting into the river 600 metres away.
I was dragging my wife into the "Sex Machine Museum". If you don't want to be called a "dirty old man" by your better half do the home work first!!! By the way, we did not enter and I am not old!!!Related to:
- Museum Visits
Reading a map!
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, the catchy title of the 1992 bestseller by John Gray, succinctly expresses an ancient dilemma. What--if anything--do men's and women's brains do differently?
The general statement that men and women respond and behave differently under the same circumstances is true; For example, from the crib, male babies tend to be more aggressive and females more passive. As adults, in spatial operations, men have the edge in such skills as negotiating a maze, reading a map, and quickly discriminating between right and left. Men also perform better than women when asked to visualize an object and imagine rotating it. On the other hand, women tend to perform better than men when asked to look at objects of different shapes, sizes, and colors, and then to group them in some order.
This still doesn't explian why a woman turns the map all around when a man is asking for the road to travel, while I like the map at one point so I can better visualize our position. Help!Related to:
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
Guidance on photography in churches: Homer's Rules
Visiting churches is one of the absolute highlights of a trip to Europe, and provides a fascinating insight into the culture which has shaped European cultures of the past couple of millenia.
Unlike some other religions - where access to places of worship may be restricted to members of that religious group or a specific gender - the vast majority of Christian churches will allow tourists to visit at most times, including routine services (although some may charge an admission fee for doing so, and access may be denied for private events such as weddings and funerals). However, tourists need to bear in mind that most churches are still active places of worship, and so visitors need to exhibit a certain sensitivity to display respect to the culture and avoid giving offence to people at prayer.
The following guidelines are based on wonderful advice offered by Homer (homaned) - who does this for a living - in a forum response, and although specifically written for Christian places of worship, would apply equally to places of worship for other religions
So, here is a general list of do's and don'ts for people wishing to photograph during a church service:
READ THE SIGNS
If photography is not permitted - because, for example, it may damage paint on delicate murals - this will usually be indicated by a pictogram of a camera with a red line through it. Under most circumstances, you can assume that photography will be allowed (unless otherwise indicated), but may not be permitted during services. If in doubt, ask for clarification - this shows respect and will very seldom be met with anything other than a helpful response.
TURN OFF YOUR FLASH!
Every camera on the market has a button on it which will turn off the flash. The number one most alarming and distracting thing that can happen during a liturgy, and one which will even get you kicked out of some churches, is the bright flash that goes off when you take a picture. Not only is it distracting, but it usually makes the picture turn out dark, because your camera's flash only has about a 10-15' range. Turn off the flash, and hold the camera up against your eye, using the viewfinder, and you will likely get a better picture (and you definitely won't have any red-eye problems!).
DON'T MOVE AROUND ALL OVER THE PLACE! (UNLESS YOU HAVE PERMISSION)
Instead of walking all over down the main aisle and in front of everybody, pick a good place from which to take a picture at the beginning of the liturgy, and stay there. Unless you're a professional photographer with practice at stealthily moving during liturgies, you're a distraction, and you're being disrespectful. Even if you're a pro, try to stick to one out-of-the-way place, and use a zoom lens and zoom in to get pictures. Walking in front of people is a surefire way to distract and disrespect and closing in on priests or other celebrants just to capitalise on a photo opportunity is offensive.
TURN OFF THE CAMERA'S SOUND!
Every camera has some way to mute all its 'cute' beeps and clicking noises. If you press a button, and hear a beep, or if you take a picture and hear an obnoxious shutter clicking sound, you need to turn off those sounds (the muting option is usually in one of the menus). Along with the flashing, it's an obvious sign that someone is taking pictures and not showing much respect for those trying to pay attention to the liturgy.
TURN OFF the 'focus assist' light!
If your camera can't focus without the little laser-light that shines in everyone's eyes before your camera takes a picture, then don't use your camera. You have to turn that light off! It is very distracting to be watching a lector or priest, and see a little red dot or lines pop up on his face all of the sudden. It's as if some rifleman is making his mark! Turn the light off (again, look in the menus for the option to turn off the 'AF assist' or 'focus assist' light). If you can't turn it off, put a piece of duct tape or some other opaque material over the area where the light is, so the light won't shine on someone.
TURN OFF THE CAMERA'S LCD!
You should never use the LCD to compose your shots anyways; just put your eye up to the viewfinder, and that will not only not distract, it will also steady your camera against your face, making for a better picture (especially if you don't have the flash on). And if you must review the pictures you've taken, hold the camera in front of you, down low, so people behind you don't notice the big, bright LCD display on your camera
CERTAIN PARTS OF THE CEREMONY ARE PARTICULARLY SENSITIVE
Photographing the blessing of the eucharist (bread and wine) and distribution of communion to the congregation are considered to be particularly sacred parts of the service, and it is offensive to photograph these activities.
The main thing is to try to be respectful of the culture and of other people present at the service. Don't distract. And, if you are asked to not take pictures, or if there's a sign saying 'no photography allowed,' then don't take pictures. You can always ask a priest's permission before the liturgy, but if he says 'No,' put away your camera and enjoy the freedom you have to focus on the privilege of being able to share an experience with people who consider these religious rituals core to their culture and identity, rather than focusing on your camera's LCD!
Homer's Rules ... Homer rules!
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